Dental Care

Dry Sockets and How To Avoid It

Maybe you've heard about the risks of the notorious dreaded dry sockets, a condition that can occur after any tooth extraction. 

Just what is it?  A blood clot forms in your gums whenever a tooth has been extracted -it's a necessary part of healing. 

But if the clot is lost, then dry socket sets in.  You're in for a slower, more painful recovery time.   

Here's What Happens: 

In order for your mouth to heal after the trauma of extraction, the tissues of your gums must granulate

That means that connective tissue begins to reform. It generally attaches to the blood clot that forms at the place where your tooth was pulled. 

There is a window of four to five days when this period of granulation is incomplete, and you are at risk of developing this condition if you lose the blood clot during that time. 

What Are The symptoms

What are the symptoms of dry socket? You can expect to notice them within those few days immediately after the extraction.

They will include a bad taste in your mouth and a noxious odor on your breath, and you can count on experiencing some pain.

Once the blood clot becomes detached, the leftover tissue basically just decays -and that's why your mouth smells so bad. 

Your bone is then exposed to the air you breathe and any food you consume, which causes the inflammation you develop. 

You should also expect to have a longer healing time if you develop dry sockets.  You probably think your gums pretty much heal in a week, because that's usually the follow-up time for a recheck after an extraction. 

At that recheck, however, the dentist just verifies that everything is healing on schedule with no signs of infection.  Actual healing time for your gum tissue can take up to a month. 

But the bone beneath it has been truly traumatized by having the tooth pulled out of it, and it takes possibly four to six months before it is entirely healed. 

So, if you develop this painful condition, inform with your dentist about specific treatment and treat your mouth with tender loving care for weeks longer than you normally would. 

Relevant Aspects

Dry socket is an aftereffect that some people are more prone to develop than others.  So if you've had dry socket once and you require another extraction, you have a greater chance of developing it again. 

If you smoke, you are putting yourself at risk for this condition.  The presence of toxic cigarette smoke can pollute your wound and delay just about any of your body's healing processes.  It also lessens the amount of blood circulation in the area. But just the act of suction on a cigarette can dislodge the clot that has formed.  So if you smoke, stop -at least during the week or so after your tooth is pulled. 

Yet another cause is brushing.  Some people say that even though they've been told not to brush, they just can't stand the feeling and they think they will just brush their teeth lightly.  Even so, it's a big price to pay once you've dislodged that clot and dry sockets sets in. 

Many people can disturb the clot if they eat spicy foods.  Worse yet, some people think they will avoid chewing by using a straw -but the action of sucking on the straw, just like smoking, will dislodge the clot. 

Another well known indicator for this condition is the use of birth control pills.  They contain estrogen, which affects the way your body forms blood clots.  If possible, plan your extraction for the time of the month when you are taking the pills with the least amount of estrogen.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure when that is. 

You've also got to follow your dentist's instructions after an extraction.  You are allowed to rinse your mouth, but when you spit you have to let the water just fall from your mouth.  If you actually gather the water and saliva up in your mouth and spit it out with any kind of force, you can spit out the clot. 

More Information

In other articles we are going to talk about the symptoms and the specific treatments that can help you. 

There are some methods to ameliorate symptoms, such as mouth rinses.  The dentist even at times utilizes a medicated dressing in the area to help control pain. 

We will also discuss why you must be especially careful with dry socket wisdom teeth complications


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